Opinion

SPLM party’s ship drifting away from the shore

By Cde. Emmanuel Ladu Kose

The SPLM Party is considered to be by people as a people-based Party. Its revolutionary objectives of Justice, freedom and equality were the basis that united and inspired most South Sudanese, especially the youths to join the rank and file of the movement since its inception, thirty-seven-years ago.

For some of us young SPLM cadres, who were born and grew up in nineties during the trying times of the liberation struggle, were honored to join the movement from the wombs of our mothers. This is why we neither swung one way or the other nor rebelled despite the temptations or the ups and downs.

Today, the SPLM’s ship is drifting away from the shore, and everybody including our leadership taking their eyes off the eyesore. In fact, the SPLM’s ship is not only drifting away from the shore but is sinking in the middle of an ocean, and that if not urgently fixed it might gradually be filled with a water and begin to sink below the ground into oblivion.

The question that begs for an answer is, “What causes this fragile situation in our revolutionary party and why a people-based party such as SPLM becomes so unwanted in the eyes of its members and followers alike?”

A spot check on the SPLM National Secretariat’s operational system confirmed my worries on the Party’s capacity to sustain and provide its cadres with necessary ideological orientation, transformation and unification of the defected members of the party. It also exposes the deep running betrayal of the Party by its comrades who were entrusted to run the organization and ensure that it lives up to the masses’ expectations.

What a shame! A party which brought us from the shadows, the storms and turbulent waters of violent and oppression of Sudanese brutal and oppressive regimes has in a twinkling of an eye has been hijacked by opportunists and unscrupulous members.

Most of our patriotic cadres are more discouraged by the way their own party disappoints them than the way the other parties oppose them. We expect opposition and mistreatment from the opposing party. But when our own party turns against us, disagrees with us, or just goes off in another direction like what happens today, we feel unsupported by our party and sometimes betrayed.

This is why I call for the leadership to speed up the reform agenda within the party so that we clean the dirt from the inside of our house and to the outside but not contrary. This is to enable the party rebreathe and grow again.

It is distressing that SPLM National Secretariat, the rightful organ to organize and execute the SPLM political vision and mission has lost its direction in the time we all wish it to be strong. In fact, as a party member, I don’t know where exactly the current National Secretariat is heading.

Many young cadres confessed to me that if the current status of the SPLM National Secretariat is not reformed, it might push away the patriotic cadres. They also stressed that the prospects of the party to grow faster under the current Secretariat might be a nightmare and would be abandoned.

Other members in National Women and Youth Leagues and their counterparts in the States, Counties, Payams and Bomas find themselves unsupported. They are sad loud as they have to survive without meaningful support from the National Secretariat.

These structures are functionally dead. There are completely no social and political activities aimed at empowering cadres such as mobilization of members, organization of training workshops, political symposiums and political rallies.

Although SPLM Students Leagues in various universities and higher institutions of learning in South Sudan were always conducting weekly political rallies and mobilization of students to join the ranks and files of the Party, unfortunately, lack of the needed financial support to execute the party’s programs at universities has hindered their programs. It is therefore not surprising to see that most of these young cadres are being left on the street un-empowered politically, ideologically and financially. Consequently, the SPLM young cadres, which represent the future of the party are the most disadvantaged of all other political parties in South Sudan.

In the midst of this confusion, many former National Congress Party (NCP) operatives and unscrupulous individuals from diaspora managed to enter into our Party. They have succeeded to take charge and push out the party senior cadres; some of whom joined the party right from the word go. This unfortunate development dismantled the party and regressed major strides made toward transformation of the party from its traditional shape to strong and vibrant political organization. 

As a result, the party lost the esteem admiration of its members and followers. There is now a growing discontent and hatred against our party and I do worry that if the party contests in the forthcoming democratic elections, the possibility of winning would be zero unless a miracle happens.

Therefore, our leaders must unreservedly and without shame recommit themselves to those revolutionary objectives to restore its glory. There must be reform within the Party and it must start right now from the SPLM National Secretariat.

One of drum beats that president Kiir is trumpeting has been the need to reform the Party. On several occasions, he has vowed that he will never allow our party die under his command.

The appointment of Cde Nhial Deng Nhial by the president is enough evidence that the president, the Chairman of the party, is ready to resuscitate the party and bring back its lost strength, admiration and glory it once had.

It is also a welcomed sight to see Cde Koul Manyang Juuk and Cde. Daniel Awet Akot, during swearing-in of Cde. Nhial Deng calling for the reform within the SPLM Party, Such is a leadership that we all wish for especially at this time where the revitalized peace agreement is at an implementation phase.

It may also be prudent that the leadership of the SPLM to consider the issues such as seniority on merit when it comes to appointments. Community recommendations on the appointment of members should be discouraged in favor of the party recommendations. Avoidance of nepotism in the employment arena also baked by all leadership of the party. And the growing notion and practices of political godfathersim within the party should be condemned in the strongest terms possible.

Conclusively, it is very important for the SPLM to carry out its activities bearing in mind the vision of its founding fathers. This will put at rest the hearts of the party members. 

The writer is a Student and a member of SPLM and the former President of Upper Nile University’s Students’ Union. He can be reached at emmanuelladukose@gmail.com or 0926699799

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